Breathing difficulties especially when accompanied by chest tightness, wheezing, and cough, whether acute or chronic, reduce our quality of life. They make doing even the simplest everyday tasks a challenge. This leads to mood swings, experiencing anxiety and depression, and poor sleep patterns.
Thankfully, with advancements in medical technology, there are several machines that can help you breathe easy and better. One of the most-effective machines is the BiPAP machine.
The word ‘BiPAP machine’ has been a common part of discussions ever since the COVID 19 pandemic hit. So much, that it has often made us wonder about what is BiPAP?
There are several medical conditions that make it difficult for you to breathe. This, when left untreated, may lead to ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), pneumonia, severe cough, and fainting, etc.
This is where a BiPAP machine comes in. Also known as BiPAP ventilator, this is what is known as a bilevel positive airway pressure machine and helps regularise a person’s breathing. It is known to be bilevel because it has two settings of pressure:
Inhalation positive airway pressure, which means that the machine delivers more air pressure when you are breathing in.
Exhalation positive airway pressure, which means that the machine reduces the air pressure when you breathe out.
It is a non-invasive ventilation machine that makes breathing easy by giving you inhalation therapy.
Though it performs critical functions, a BiPAP ventilator is quite a simple and small machine. It is the size of a small lunchbox and has a face mask, nasal mask, and tube attached to it. The machine also has a motor that supplies the air to the tube. This machine is routinely used in hospitals and is also available for home use.
A BiPAP ventilator works on the principle of positive pressure ventilation. This means that while using this machine, you receive positive air pressure while inhaling and exhaling.
One of the most major BiPAP machines is that it helps in opening up your lungs and helping them inflate and deflate, without exerting any pressure on your body.
Here is how a BiPAP machine is used:
There are some lung-impacting conditions that may require your doctor to advise a BiPAP ventilator for you. Here is more information on what is BiPAP used for:
We often wonder about CPAP vs BiPAP and which one will benefit us more. While both these machines are used to deliver positive air pressure when you are unable to regulate your breathing on your own and need assistance, the main difference lies in the way the air pressure is delivered.
BiPAP machines are more sophisticated and can vary the airflow during the process of breathing in and out, which is especially important in neuromuscular disorders such as COPD. This is because they deliver two levels of pressure as compared to the CPAP machine that delivers a single constant level of air pressure. There are several sophisticated BiPAP machines like this one from Philips that work well in patients who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine.
BiPAP machines are a better option especially for people suffering from COPD that makes breathing out difficult in some people. They find this machine more effective as compared to CPAP that delivers a constant pressure even while exhaling.
Another great BiPAP machine uses is that some of them come with a timer that makes the machine deliver pressure even when the person using it is too weak to breathe on their own.
Here are some benefits of using a BiPAP machine:
It monitors the patient’s efforts while inhaling and exhaling and accordingly delivers air pressure. This reduces the stress on the patient and lets them breathe and sleep comfortably.
This machine offers greater breathing assistance for patients who suffer from serious cardiopulmonary disorders like congestive heart failure and neuromuscular disorders.
Due to their bilevel air pressure technique, exhaling becomes simpler with the use of a BiPAP ventilator.
BiPAP machines like the Philips BiPAP Pro are compact and easier to use and handle. This comes with an inbuilt humidifier that prevents drying of the mucus membranes that leads to a sore and painful throat.
This machine is a safe option to use in times of breathing difficulties and has few side effects, most of which are not serious. These include:
Some people may feel discomfort while using a BiPAP ventilator. However, this goes away with regular use.
You may feel bloated and sluggish because of breathing in too much air constantly.
You may experience dryness in the mouth or the nose.
Alternatively, some people may experience a runny nose.
Some may feel sinus pressure build-up.
Some people may experience irritation and dryness on the skin where the mask is put on.
A BiPAP machine is a critical investment and a lifesaver in many situations. That’s why it is essential that you spend ample time selecting the best option for yourself. Some people may get overwhelmed especially when they are new to assistive breathing treatment. We have streamlined all the information about BiPAP ventilators for you to make an informed investment:
One of the most important considerations should be your doctor’s recommendation. Depending on your specific requirement, your doctor may recommend a specific machine or model that will work the best for you.
The most essential feature is the pressure range. Usually, these machines have an air pressure range of 4-25 cm H2O. You should ideally choose a machine with a higher than the required air pressure in times of critical needs.
Choose a BiPAP machine with a humidifier. This can eliminate one of the most common side effects, which is drying out your airways, nose, and mouth. Machines like the Philips BiPAP A 40- Ventilator make breathing more comfortable.
Don’t compromise on the quality of the accessories. Purchase good quality essentials like this hosepipe and replace them at regular intervals.
A BiPAP machine is a potential lifesaver when used properly and for the right health condition. It also helps to understand your treatment to get the most out of this device and to ensure quicker and better recovery.
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